The new Law on Trade was passed

On 22 July 2019, the National Assembly of the Republic of the Serbia adopted Law on Trade (“Law”), published in the Official Gazette No. 52/2019 dated 22 July, 2019, effective eight days after publishing in the Official Gazette on 30 July, 2019.

The Law introduces new definitions of terms, for the first time it defines the term goods, it also introduces definitions of the term electronic platform and e-commerce, while definitions adopted from previous law are specified. By defining the concept of trade in goods or services, as well as the trade for profit, the legislator has comprehensively regulated the general conditions for conducting trade in goods and services, commercial activities and other business activities in the internal market. The Law also makes few classification of trade, as wholesale, retail and consumer services. This classification is significant because of prescribed conditions, especially for retail and consumer services. The Law clearly prescribes the conditions for conducting trade, in terms of persons engaged in trade and providing services, also minimal technical conditions of goods and the price at which goods are sold. A trust mark is also defined, which indicates that trader has certain qualitative characteristics that have been assessed and validated by a third party, which basically represents a reputation system. Who can be issuer of a trust mark is prescribed by the Law. Particular attention is paid to goods which must bear a declaration and the Law prescribes minimum information that the declaration must contain. It is also prescribed a minimum requirement that must be taken into account when advertising goods, so that consumer receives accurate information. The Law prescribes the manner and requirements for determining measures to protect the market, as well as the possibility to determine incentive measures that should contribute to the development of trade in the domestic market. It then also prescribes prohibition of unfair competition, the prohibition of illicit speculation and pyramid trade. With regard to supervision, solution of the previous law was retained, where the task of inspection supervision was entrusted to local government, through communal inspectors, who must fulfill the conditions prescribed by the Law, in order to become communal inspectors. An important novelty of the Law is the introduction of authorization of the inspector to make undercover purchases, as a method of greater efficiency in detecting illegal trade. The responsibilities of the competent authority are also enumerated in order to avoid inspector’s arbitrariness, corruption and increase of legal certainty of economic entities.

The implementation of the Law on trade adopted in 2010, which introduced significant changes in terms of general conditions for conducting the trade in the internal market and in order to build a modern and efficient system monitoring compliance with these conditions, determined that certain provisions should be reviewed and changed. The need to adopt an updated regulation is in fact a response to the requirements of the practice that came about by applying the 2010 law. One of the reasons for passing the Law was also the need to harmonize this area with the Law on Inspection Supervision and the Law on General Administrative Procedure. The harmonization required intervention in more than a half of the provisions of the 2010 law, so it was better to adopt completely new text. The main objective of the Law is to provide a stable and equipped market, with the least possible interference of the state in trade, which would ensure a more efficient market economy. In addition, the legislator wants to achieve modernization of the trade sector and development of competition, as well as to develop an electronic database for proper conduct of trade policy. The new Law will restrict trade only exceptionally under the prescribed conditions, when it is necessary to establish and maintain the stability of market supply.